What is RFID and how does it work?

What is RFID and how does it work?


RFID is an acronym for “radio frequency identification” and refers to a technology by which digital data encoded in RFID tags or smart tags (defined below) is captured by a reader via radio waves. RFID is similar to barcoding in that data from a tag or tag is captured by a device that stores the data in a database. RFID, however, has several advantages over systems that use barcode asset tracking software. Most notable is that RFID tag data can be read outside of line of sight, while barcodes must be aligned with an optical scanner. If you are considering implementing an RFID solution, take the next step and contact the RFID experts at AB&R® (American Barcode and RFID).


RFID belongs to a group of technologies called automatic identification and data capture ( AIDC ). AIDC methods automatically identify objects, collect data about them, and enter that data directly into computer systems with little or no human intervention. RFID methods use radio waves to achieve this. At a simple level, RFID systems consist of three components: an RFID tag or smart label, an RFID reader and an antenna. Maro c RFID tags contain an integrated circuit and an antenna, which are used to transmit data to the RFID reader (also called interrogator). The reader then converts the radio waves into a more usable form of data. The information collected from the tags is then transferred via a communications interface to a host computer system, where the data can be stored in a database and later analyzed.


As noted above, an RFID tag consists of an integrated circuit and an antenna. The label is also made of a protective material that holds the parts together and protects them from various environmental conditions. The protective material depends on the application. For example, employee ID badges containing RFID tags are typically made from durable plastic, and the tag is embedded between layers of plastic. RFID tags come in different shapes and sizes and are passive or active. Passive tags are the most used because they are smaller and less expensive to implement. Passive tags must be “powered” by the Morocco RFID reader before they can transmit data. Unlike passive tags, active RFID tags have a built-in power supply (e.g. battery), which allows them to transmit data at any time. For a more detailed discussion, refer to this article: Passive RFID Tags vs. Active RFID Tags.

Smart labels differ from RFID labels in that they incorporate both RFID and barcode technologies. They consist of an adhesive label embedded with an RFID label inlay and may also have a barcode and/or other printed information. Smart labels can be encoded and printed on demand using desktop label printers, while programming RFID labels takes more time and requires more advanced equipment.



  • Inventory management
  • Asset Tracking
  • Staff monitoring
  • Access control to restricted areas
  • Identification badges
  • Supply chain management
  • Prevention of counterfeiting (e.g. in the pharmaceutical industry)

Although RFID technology has been used since World War II, demand for RFID equipment is increasing rapidly, in part due to mandates issued by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Wal-Mart requiring their suppliers to enable products to be traceable by RFID.

Whether RFID compliance is required or not, applications that currently use barcode technology are good candidates for upgrading to a system that uses RFID or a combination of the two. RFID offers many advantages over barcodes, particularly the fact that an RFID tag can contain much more data about an item than a barcode. Additionally, RFID tags are not susceptible to damage that can be caused by barcode labels, such as tearing and smudging.

From reading distance to the types of tags available, RFID has come a long way since World War II and there is a bright future ahead of us. Review the evolution of RFID.

Read More: RFID for parking system

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